This Blush Layering Technique Is Responsible for Addison Rae's MTV Movie Awards Glow

We got the full breakdown on her makeup, hair, and nails straight from the source.

Addison Rae selfie


There are a few things you can expect from an MTV-hosted award show: the mood will be light, the energy will be high, and the looks—hair, makeup, and ensembles—will be fun and fresh. 

Since 1992, the MTV Movie Awards (now the MTV Movie & TV Awards, FYI) in particular have always been an event where and up-and-coming stars alike can cut loose, both socially and sartorially. Gen Z queen Addison Rae might have been born long after the awards' inception, but her attire last night proved that the TikTok star knows exactly what kind of look the MTV red carpet calls for—one that gets people talking. Ahead, get all the details behind Rae’s sultry makeup, lush hair, and bold manicure look, including the unexpected blush technique that’s responsible for her dewy, ethereal glow.

Addison Rae


The first thing we noticed when Rae showed up at the Hollywood Palladium (other than her censor bar-reminiscent top perfect for the evening) was her glowing complexion. We later learned that her rosy cheeks were the product of a yet-to-be-released Pat McGrath Labs blush that the Dame herself has called her “most requested” makeup item of all time. Makeup artist Mary Phillips layered two shades of the forthcoming Divine Blush—Desert Orchid and Lovestruck—to create a slightly sun-burned effect (mark your calendars: it’s set to launch on 5/21). The result is a flush with enough dimension and impact to stand out on the red carpet.

Phillips, who also works with Kendall Jenner and Jennifer Lopez, made sure to keep the rest of Rae’s glam true to her signature beachy makeup style. She explained on Instagram that after sweeping on a healthy amount of blush, she applied the Skin Fetish Highlighter + Balm Duo in Golden ($48) to the high points of Rae’s face using a damp sponge, and then followed with a layer of the Skin Fetish Sublime Skin Highlighter ($65) along the same area, this time with a fluffy brush.

Mary Phillips makeup


Mary Phillips shares a look at the new Pat McGrath Divine Blushes, used on Addison Rae

For Rae’s warm, smoky eyes, Phillips used a combination of Pat McGrath Lab products with a few from Rae's own Item Beauty line, a colorful Zoomer best-seller. To start, Phillips washed a blend of Taboo, a warm toasted brown from the Mothership VI: Midnight Sun Palette ($125), and some of the aforementioned Desert Orchid blush all over her lids for seamless color transitions. From there, she deepened Rae’s crease with Xtreme Mahogany, a violet-brown shade from the Mothership VII: Divine Rose Palette ($125), and Xtreme Dusk, a chocolate-brown from the Midnight Sun palette. She then smoked out Rae’s lower lash line with the Taboo and Xtreme Mahogany shades. 

For Rae’s laser-price eye liner look, Philips used four different products. She started with a smudging of the Pat McGrath Labs PermaGel Ultra Glide Eye Pencil in Blk Coffee ($28) along upper lashes, and then softly blended it out with a small detail brush. From there, she layered the deep Xtreme Dusk eyeshadow over the pencil for a less severe look, then tightlined both upper and lower waterlines with another PermaGel pencil in Shade, a medium-toned taupe. Finally, the PermaPrecision Liquid Eyeliner ($32) added even more definition along the lashline. 

Philips finished the makeup look with a few coats of the Item Beauty Lash Snack Mascara ($14), and then filled out Rae’s signature full, fluffy brows with the Item Beauty Brow Chow in Medium ($15). She defined her lips with the Pat McGrath Labs PermaGel Ultra Lip Pencil in Structure ($28), and filled them in with the MatteTrance Lipstick in 1995 ($38).

Tousled yet smooth and shiny waves are another Rae signature, and for the MTV awards, celebrity stylist Jenny Cho carefully defined each strand for an “undone, cool-girl vibe.” Cho, who also works with stars like Carey Mulligan and Sandra Oh, first shampooed Rae’s hair with the Lapcos Dr. 14 Vital Care Shampoo ($32) before towel drying and applying a heat protectant.

After blowing out individual layers with a round brush and the ghd Helios Hair Dryer ($249), Cho gently formed an s-like bend for each wave using the ghd platinum+ styler ($249). To finish off, Cho manually separated each wave with her hands for a more natural texture, and sealed the look with a finishing hairspray.

Jenny Cho doing Addison Rae hair


Jenny Cho shows how she bends each wave

As any award show attendee will tell you, it’s all about the details when it comes to a memorable glam look, and Rae’s long chainlink-manicured nails are a perfect example. Created by celebrity nail designer Thuy Nguyen, who's worked on the claws of everyone from Lana Condor to Gabrielle Union (and on Byrdie shoots, too!), the nails are undeniably bold but still wearable, even for those of us not walking a red carpet in the foreseeable future.

Addison Rae MTV Movie Award Nails


On Instagram, Nguyen explained that she went for this versatile look to suit both of Rae’s outfits for the evening. After applying an OPI base coat, Nguyen painted on two layers of OPI's Black Onyx ($9), then "wiped away that tacky layer so that nails aren’t sticky." To ensure that the manicure’s chains matched the ones on Rae’s dress, Nguyen carefully measured along the cuticle for the exact length needed, then used nail glue and tweezers to secure them to the nail. Finally, Nguyen let the glue dry and layered on a top coat, taking care to go over the chain and cuticle line to keep everything in place.

In the end, it took dozens of products, several hours, and a fleet of top beauty professionals to get Rae styled, spritzed, and polished for the ceremony. Based on the red carpet photos—and their subsequent social media splash—we feel confident declaring that the extensive prep was officially well worth it.

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